Background literature: Childhood trauma is defined by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network as ‘a frightening, dangerous, or violent event that poses a threat to a child’s life or bodily integrity’ (NCTSN, 2020). Traumatic stress can give rise to physical and psychiatric diseases (Cohen et al., 1995). Animal-Assisted Interventions have been proposed to mitigate the long-term health effects of childhood trauma experienced that can continue into adulthood.
Research Aim: The aim of the present literature review was to assess the evidence in relation to Animal-Assisted Interventions with dogs on the effects of childhood trauma.
Method: PRISMA guidelines were followed to perform the present systematic literature review i.e. the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Search strategies included ‘childhood’, ‘adolescent’, ‘trauma’, ‘animal-assisted’ and ‘pets’ using the research database EBSCO to identify the relevant peer-reviewed publications.
Results: Records identified 1,370 research articles, of which 233 were duplicates. Of the remaining 1,137 articles, 1,080 were excluded. Fifty-seven full-text articles were assessed for eligibility and 9 studies were included in a full review of AAI characteristics employed, study design and outcome(s).
Conclusion(s): AAI’s with canines have demonstrated promise to support the prevention, treatment, and recovery from the after effects of trauma exposure in children. Further research needs to be conducted to evaluate the specific components of intervention(s) that are considered most adaptive from an evidence-based perspective in order to promote the best care pathway and therapeutic intervention for victims of childhood traumatic stress to benefit children and adults worldwide.
|23 Jun 2021
|30th International Society for Anthrozoology